April, 2012 – Act of Valor, a Few Notes


Cultural CornerDanny Smith


Act of Valor


By Danny Smith


Act of Valor, a film directed by Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh, focuses on a group of Navy SEALs going through dangerous missions in order to rescue a kidnapped CIA agent.


I interviewed James S., a freshman at Palm Beach State College, who recently watched the movie. He had this to say about it.


“Act of Valor was a story about Navy SEALs acted by actual Navy SEALs.  It was an unfiltered version of the generic war movie. It was similar to the Hurt Locker in its uncensored violence.  This movie takes realism into account more so than movies such as Windtalkers, Flags of Our Fathers, and Pearl Harbor.”


“The acting wasn’t the quality of top actors like Tom Cruise, Leo DiCaprio, or George Clooney. It’s narrated by the main character who’s reading a letter written for his best friend’s son by his best friend”.


“Cristo and Abu Shabal were the main antagonists. Cristo is a Russian drug lord and Abu Shabal is an Islamic Fundamentalist. The group of Navy SEALs perform a few missions and eventually confront Cristo and Shabal and bring them to justice.”


“The movie is a lot more complicated than people would assume” says James S.  “There are very well choreographed fight scenes and military tactics.” 


          Overall, my interviewee found the film to be entertaining andact-of-valor action-packed, but he noted that it seemed lacking in the drama of casualties in war that an audience wants to see.


Real-life SEALs, while realistic in the aspect of being elite and nameless, need to have emotion and depth too. An audience wants to connect with the good guys and have a reason to hate the bad guys. The viewer felt an experienced actor could have better portrayed the Navy SEALs drama than what came across as performed by the SEALs themselves.


One sort of realism trades for another, leaving the directors (who call themselves The Bandito Brothers) stuck between 1) crowd-pleasing drama that is sometimes considered unrealistic and other times considered the “true realism” or 2) focusing on the action and combat aspect of combat and how soldiers who have their heads in the game wage war, but could seem shallow or uncharismatic to certain audiences.


          As far as any disparities in acting, every actor was a true Navy SEAL, which warrants them some serious credit as being their own stunt double and still putting up a decent and believable performance.  James S. said he did enjoy the film and would recommend it to anyone who likes ‘that kind of movie’.


Danny Smith is a member of the Journalism and Literary Class “Lit Mag” at Wellington High School where he is a junior. He is a member of the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta the national math honor society. He has diverse interests, including being a cartoonist and an experienced guitarist.